The moment cruise ship passengers step on the ship, they face numerous threats. Whether it be the outbreak of an illness, sexual assault, or injury while on the ship or excursion, the hazards are real and ever present.
One of the biggest threats to cruise passengers is norovirus. This virus can be caused by contaminated food or water and can be spread through contaminated surfaces or the air. Royal Caribbean’s gargantuan Oasis of the Seas suffered one of the largest cruise ship outbreaks of norovirus on record. 561 passengers and 31 crew members required treatment for the gastrointestinal illness. Surprisingly, that exceeded the number of passengers who contracted norovirus in all other cruise ships combined in 2018. However, this is not the only threat facing cruise ship passengers. Travelers also can easily get injured while on vacation, especially when taking excursions by the sometimes-irresponsible providers recommended by the cruise companies.
The chairman of the International Cruise Victims, Kevin Carver, recently spoke out and about these risks and advised people to do some research into the medical facilities offered by potential cruise ships before booking. Mr. Carver indicated that many cruise vessels don’t staff the appropriate medical personnel and facilities to treat serious injuries, as doctors are often just capable of treating illnesses like the norovirus. Additionally, information taken from Carnival’s website indicates that, while cruise ships are at sea, their health care services are not available 24 hours per day. Instead they are only available from 9am to 12pm and then from 3pm to 6pm. However, while on port, they work from 8am to 10am and then from 4pm to 6pm.
On the whole, it is very important for people to take into consideration all the things that can go wrong while on a cruise ship. Travelers should do some research into the cruise company’s policies about offshore accidents, as well as how well equipped their facilities and crew are to handle major injuries. Also, travelers should check with their healthcare providers before setting sail to see what services may and may not be covered while on vacation. Finally, travelers should consider purchasing a travel insurance policy as a backup.